Hello all Victor lovers! Although there has been input from Handley Page Victor supporters in several threads over the years, since my inadvertant hop on 3 May 2009, it has become apparent there are a large number of ex-Victor aircrew and groundcrew, relatives of Victor people, and people with a general interest in the aircraft, World-Wide.
The Vulcan people have keep their thread active after many years, with news, views, questions etc, so I think the Victor deserves its own Victor "talk about anything" thread.
If this is to continue, it is up to you!! But for one, I would be very interested to hear from anyone at Gaydon or Cottesmore 1960/61.
Hi Bob, I just scrape into your time period. completed No22 Victor Course with John Beech, Nov 59 to March 60. then onto 57 Sqn. The QFI,s I remember,Sqn.Ldrs Wilmott and Hall plus Frank McClory,plus it was blxxdy cold! Chris.
I was on K1 tankers from 1971-77 (went through the OCU with Victor Pilot in 1971, possibly the only course with 2 Jensen drivers on it, added a touch of class to the line-up outside the OCU hanger!). I think its a shame that no K1 has survived in any decent state of preservation, although I understand Duxford has one. The original B1 in white, before they started sticking bits and pieces all over it has to be the most elegant of the V Bombers. I loved my time on tankers, although it had its downside - 2 hours receiver training on Towline 2 wasnt anyone down the back's idea of fun!
Some great gallery pictures here on the V Force reunion website V-Force Reunion (just flick past the Valiants and tin triangles ).
Although I never flew in a "Victor" I was luck enough to have "worked" on one when I left school and started work. We lived near Watford at the time and my father worked at Radlett and so that's where I started out on life's great adventure. It was about 1955 or 1956. My pals and I used to cycle out to the aerodrome when we were still at school as there was an asphalt road that went from the A5, up between two workshops and across a bridge over the railway line. If you were lucky you could be on that bridge as the 1st prototype landed. It was fabulous as it seemed just above our heads with all the landing gear and flaps down. What a sight - and it was still "on the secret list" too! When I started work there this aircraft had crashed and there was a mad scramble to get the second one ready for Farnborough - I'm not sure if they were trying to keep the crash quiet and pass this second prototype off as the first. Anyway it was a blazining hot summer and the crew section was crammed with bodies doing their jobs. I think they were fitting the seats in at the time, but it really was chaotic. If I'm not mistaken the aircraft was painted a pale blue colour. Also at Page's the Hastings aircraft were re-fitted for the RAF and after the work had been done they were sent to the Flight Shed for air testing and accepting by the RAF. One day there was bit of a commotion as we had a visit from MI5 because it was discovered that there had been a case of the the wiring looms in the aircraft being cut through to sabotage them whilst in the Flight Shed.
Hi Bob, I was on "A" Squadron at Gaydon. I am in touch with Derek Powell and Sam Weller who were there too. After last year,s Christmas cards "Incident at Gaydon" I had phone calls from the ex Gaydon Groupie, Group Captain G.H. Everitt, and the Crew Chief of XA 941, Tom Swinburne.
While at Gaydon, I preflighted XA 934 [as did Sam Weller] on October 2nd 1962. It crashed at Combrook that night. I,ve been in touch with the survivor of that Crash, but he does not wish to be reminded of it.
A couple of years ago, wearing my "Vulcan to the Sky" Tee shirt, a chap said to me "Did you work on Vulcans?", I replied "Yes, but mostly on Victors". He had been a pilot on Victors. His name was Victor Pheasant. EX S.A.C. "Shingles" McVey.
He had been a pilot on Victors. His name was Victor Pheasant.
Actually Shingles, Vic was an AEO and was AEO leader on 214 Victor K1 tankers when I was on the squadron. Really nice chap, hoping to see again him at the reunion in April at Newark in April.
Lovely pictures Warmtoast - thanks for sharing. I think I'm right in saying that the protypes were a few feet shorter than the production aircraft, but nevertheless those pics bear out my remarks above about what an elegant aeroplane the Mk 1 was
John, similar story my end, I remember the prototypes well and also doing the cycle bit from Edgware up to Radlet, a neighbour worked on the production line. Must admit the Victor has always been my favourite V Bomber.
Flame Out, the reunion is being organised for all who served on any of the three aircraft in any capacity, aircrew or groundcrew. However last time we had a chap turn up who had worked for HP at Radlett, so we reckoned as he had helped build the Victor we could hardly turn him away. However, if you dont qualify in any of these ways there is nothing at all to stop you coming along as a member of the public, as the museum remains open to the public over the weekend. I'm sure you'd find a lot to interest you.
I'm looking for someone who was on Victor Bomber (B1 or B2) or SR to help run a reception table at our reunion V-Force Reunion next April. If you served on these types in any capacity, aircrew or groundcrew, and would be willing to lend a hand at the reunion, please make contact by private message. We already have the tanker table covered, so just bomber or SR please.
Hi Chris, You just beat me to it as I arrived at Gaydon Sep 60. I did the groundschool, but there was no co-pilot slot available - so I slipped a course and made coffee in the groundschool for about three months! Then all of a sudden, it was get your kit on P/O Prothero, we are going flying! Des Hall was the Victor Boss, Frank I remember, and I flew with Ron Sharpe - landing on my second trip in thick fog - about 300 yds I would guess. I remember Ron saying "just fly the ILS until I take over" and the altimeter was very close to zero when he said "I have" and "Slow cut!!" Pete Nelson was another QFI. I went to Cottesmore to join 15, but they did not want me so I ended up on 10 Sqn - good move, good captains, and then to No 1 Victor 2 Course. Des Frank and Pete were around Victors for years, but not sure what happened to Ron.
I ended up flying the Victor marks until 1980 (or 2009!) and am compiling a book about those days, and the 60s in particular. There is a lot of material to cover: burnt brakes, brake chute slips, nose flaps, position of the u/c and flap selectors, SOPs, etc, and "I learnt about flying from that" stories - quite apart from the nuclear stuff. If you can contribute, or anyone else, please PM me. Very grateful for any input. All the best, Bob
I was pretty young when I saw 775 at Farnborough. I managed to cadge 3 trade tickets that year, and took some pics with a box camera. I seem to remember that the scheme was matt black with a red cheat line, but guess it might have been dark blue. When I saw the aircraft, I never imagined I would end up flying them just about all my flying career!! Great memory jogging pics, I must try and find mine and scan them. Your pics show clearly how much shorter the front fuselage was on the prototypes compared with the later production model. Bob
I visited Radlett several times in the period 1962 to 1966. Apart from the small size of the airfield, I remember being amazed that aircraft could be built in "Fred's tiny shed"!! The aircraft were crammed in like jigsaw pieces, and I was told the night shift just moved the bits and pieces around to get them in the right places!! There must be many stories about how they were assembled, the ups and downs, and changes over the years until the company were forced to close their doors. I would be very interested to hear any stories from the factory floor if you can help. I guess I should address that to the Handley Page Association too? Bob
Hi, Mig15, You will have seen my posts here and there, and perhaps gathered that I am researching for a book on the Victor. One area I am keen to explore is what was done after the Falklands to keep the aircraft flying, bearing in mind their fatigue consumption had been very severe for several months. I believe some additional aileron up-rigging was done to extend the fatigue life, but when? Looking at 715, it appears that there is about twice the upset I remember from 1980. I wonder if any airframe mods were done - strengthening plates for example. Any information you can give me would be gratefully received, as would any stories of your time at Marham, or even pictures. All the best. Bob